Rex Murphy: The Titanic didn't arrive - No story here!

No Records Broken Today: Climate Change Called Off

It is legitimate to criticize people who use a single weather event to bolster their case for concern about global warming. But how much more bizarre is it to seize upon a single soggy summer (this one) in a very narrow part of the world (Toronto) to argue the opposite?

The purple proseur Rex Murphy did just that in his Globe and Mail column (“So where’s the global cooling alert?”) a week ago. He wanted to know why we had not all cancelled the climate change alarm on account of Toronto’s unusually wet and chilly summer weather. Noting the likelihood that record-breaking hot weather moves people to discuss the risks and evidence of global warming, Murphy says:

Now, however, Toronto in July is cool and I am waiting in vain for the lips of just one forecaster to ask how can this be. Waiting just once to hear the familiar phrase “global warming” in a sentence that even hints that the theory behind it is so much more tentative than we have been urged with such fervour to believe.

It’s a little like ending an uneventful motorcycle ride with the conclusion that there is - quite apparently - no longer any danger to cycling and that helmet legislation should be repealed.

Murphy’s myopia is pathetic on two counts. First, his position is just silly. The fact that many days pass without the breaking of records does not remove concern about the days when records are dashed.

Second, although he is the host of CBC’s Cross Country Check-up - a national radio call-in show that makes an effort to canvas news and views from every part of this far-flung country - Rex neglected to check across the country. If he had, he would have noticed record-breaking of all kinds: colder, wetter weather where he is, unprecedented heat building dangerously in British Columbia and waves of warmth pouring north, where Arctic ocean ice is melting toward another dangerously low year.

Wouldn’t it serve us all so much better if Rex started basing his columns on a thoughtful canvassing of accurate information, based perhaps on real science, rather than the raving (as in this instance) of agenda-driven climate-science amateurs like Ian Plimer, whose thoroughly debunked book Murphy recommends as a reasonable source?


I am sick of these commentators’ confusion between weather and climate. Either they are too ignorant of the difference or they are hoping they confuse the general public enough to make them not care or not pay attention to this urgent problem.

Rex Murphy is guilty of journalistic malpractice and should be ashamed of himself!

Toronto is unseasonably cool and Rex jumps on that - and BC is hot and he doesn’t notice. - oh well

I don’t put much stock in unexpected weather proving anything and when global warming folks start pointing at weather, they pretty much throw themselves in with Rex.

Rex is an entertainer who talks about Tim Hortons and Boston Creme donuts as if they were something important - it’s all just for a laugh.

The question is: Are the GW folks also just entertainers seeing as how they point to weather in much the same way?

Yes they can be. People who use weather events as proof of global warming, or evidence against are narrow minded. Or intentionally being so because they believe people will more easily be convinced by their arguement. I mean how many times do you see people say heat wave, due to global warming!…or cold snap! where is global warming? in the headlines.

This type of thing only confuses people, because they dont grasp the complexity to the issue or look for quick answers and expect the media to be credible sources of scientific information.

We just went through an extremely untypical week out here on the west coast of Canada, including an unheard of thunderstorm in summer (we get 1 or 2 lightning flashes a year here, always in winter). The hottest place in Canada the other day was Bella Coola, BC – perhaps only BCers will understand how wierd that is, but Bella Coola is where you go to live if you never want to see the sun, much less feel it. It was 114F in Chelalis, Washington. It was hotter here, by far, than any of the other places my family lives, except for Tucson which got a couple degrees hotter than us.

But even if none of this had happened, in Rex’s own country yet, it still wouldn’t mean that global average temperature is trending downward rapidly and has been for several decades. Save us from the professionally stupid.

The entire science of global warning is based on computer models.
How many extreme winters or soggy summers wil it thke then to prove the models wrong?

possibly not - he hasn’t really fleshed out his computer model argument.

Maybe he means that all predictions are by nature at least a little bit wrong and some things will prove to be way off. I’m hopeful that climate change will have some surprising benefits rather than the impending cataclysm that is being foretold about future weather.

The argument to be made is the ‘science’ of computer modelling bis accurate….
The longer the empirical data runs contrary to the models the more difficult it becomes to make that argument.

Is fundamentally different from your first.

But ignoring that, which model are you talking about, there are many. And which scenario did you have in mind, again there are quite a few. When you have chosen those, show the empirical evidence lies outside of the uncertainties of the projections.

it will be all bad for absolutely everybody. But on balance for most of humanity or for most ecosystems the bad will outweigh the good. And the bigger the change and the faster it happens the worse the consequences.


Now who told you that?

We actually have a way of testing computer models to gauge their accuracy at predicting future temperatures… We plug in the data, and run them to test their historical accuracy since 1860.

And when you do that, you get this graph.

This, my friend, is otherwise known as the smoking gun.

And when you combine results like this to the 1,400 peer-reviewed climate studies presented in March to update the science since the last IPCC report in 2007, all suggesting that climate change is barreling along, and it becomes obvious that you don’t know your ass from your elbow.

That an individual educated at Oxford–a Rhodes Scholar, no less–can spout such ignorance is truly saddening. Rex’s column betrays his misunderstanding of some of the elemental basics of climate science. I can only suspect that this is yet another example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. I have noticed a few people recently promoting Plimer’s book (The Vanouver Sun’s Jonathan Manthorpe is one), and their promotion of the book suggests to me that they either (a) don’t follow the science of climate at all, or (b) don’t have enough knowledge of science and how science works to see the problems with a publication like Plimer’s.

Scientists have their book learnin’, but Rex Murphy has something more powerful–ignorance and a podium.